Composite Shake Is the Answer for Home in British Columbia

The Siebert residence was originally built in 1991. Its original cedar shake roof was replaced with a new roof system featuring composite shakes. Photos: DaVinci Roofscapes

Myrtle Siebert grew up in the logging industry as the granddaughter of a hand logger in British Columbia, Canada. She married a man who dreamt of having his own logging company and saw that dream come true. But when it came time to replace the cedar shake roof on her own home near Victoria, she decided to go with composite shake shingles because of their durability, fire resistance, and ease of maintenance.

Siebert and her son did their homework. They visited local builder supply businesses and then struck gold when they hiredVictoria-based Custom Roofing Inc.to do the job. Siebert worked closely with Caleb Friesen, owner of Custom Roofing, to make sure she got the roof system she wanted.

“Caleb and his team confirmed what we already knew … that composite shake from DaVinci was the product for my home,” says Siebert. “I chose the style and color of the composite shakes carefully so that the new fake cedar shakes would look like the real cedar roof we had previously. Mission accomplished.”

“She definitely wanted to maintain the look and feel of the thick wood shakes that the house had on it previously,” Friesen notes. “The idea of longevity and consistent appearance truly appealed to this homeowner. The selection of Bellaforté Shake in the Tahoe color blend really complements the design of this house.”

Photos: DaVinci Roofscapes

Made of pure virgin resin, UV and thermal stabilizers plus a highly-specialized fire retardant, Bellaforté products are created to resemble natural slate and shake products. The composite roofs are designed to resist fading, rotting, cracking and pests, plus high winds, hail and fire. The realistic-looking roofing tiles stand up to weather challenges while requiring no maintenance.

Siebert was intimately involved in the re-roofing process. “I had been directly involved in building this home back in 1991, plus several others over the years,” she says. “I love doing the planning and design work. Caleb was delightfully communicative and his team of workers was fabulous.”

Despite interruptions of pelting rain, snow obliterating the drawn lines and slippery conditions causing work stoppages, the team from Custom Roofing was careful and dedicated to the re-roofing process. “This roof gives me confidence,” Siebert says. “As much as I love wood, I no longer have to worry about maintaining a real cedar shake roof. The DaVinci composite shake is the best possible option I could find for staying as close to real wood on our roof.”

Six Risks You Should Know Before Putting Skylights on Your Roof

Skylights are popular for a reason. They add an extra dash of beauty to any commercial building, and they’re a great source of free lighting. But there are also drawbacks, and, if you’re not aware of them, the costs can end up being far greater than the benefits. Whether you already have a skylight or are considering adding one to the design of a new roof, make sure you’re prepared to deal with the downsides:

  • 1. Leaks
    Skylights are famous—or maybe that should be infamous—for leaking. Over time, the seals and flashing can deteriorate, providing an opportunity for water to penetrate your roof. Things like rain, snow and debris can accelerate the process. Modern skylights are less prone to leaks than older versions, but even the best skylight can leak if it isn’t installed properly.

    There’s an additional leak risk, too: ice dams. Skylights transfer heat to the surrounding roofing material, causing any accumulated snow to melt. That, in turn, can contribute to ice dams, eventually causing even more leaks and adding to the cost of roof maintenance.

  • 2. Breakage
    Even standard roofs are vulnerable to the elements, particularly wind and storm damage, but skylights are even more so. Hail and flying debris, for in-stance, can easily crack a skylight. And, when it comes to snow loads, skylights can be the weakest part of the roof. If you calculate the maximum weight load based on the rest of the roof, your sky-light could fail from the excess weight of a heavy snowfall.

  • 3. Falls
    For workers performing roof maintenance, skylights pose a risk for serious injury, or even death. Some workers simply assume skylights are designed to bear their weight and will intentionally stand or sit on them. Tripping and falling onto a skylight presents yet another risk. That’s why the Washington, D.C.-based Occupational Safety and Health Administration puts skylights in the same category as other open holes and requires that each one is protected by a screen or guard rail that meets OSHA’s regulations.

    However, guard rails aren’t 100 percent safe either. Depending on the quality of the safety net or the weight of the victim, roof-maintenance professionals can fall through just as easily as they would through a skylight.

  • 4. Light Exposure
    While access to free natural light is one of the primary benefits of skylights, there’s also a drawback. Depending on the placement, skylights can actually let in too much light, contributing to glare and excess UV exposure. Not only can that be hard on employees, it can cause preventable damage to furniture, carpeting, art and more valuable items.

  • 5. Energy Loss
    In stark contrast to the lure of free lighting, skylights can have a significant negative impact on heating and cooling costs. Skylights simply don’t present the same barrier to heat transfer that more traditional roofing materials do. In the winter, heat escapes. In the summer, heat seeps into the building—and sun-light and glare only add to that effect. According to the National Fenestration Rating Council Inc., Greenbelt, Md., skylights can cause a building’s interior temperature to fluctuate by more than half the difference between the exterior temperature.

  • 6. Space Constraints
    Skylights take up rooftop space that could be used for equipment or other purposes. To get the maximum benefit of free natural lighting, you need to dedicate 7 to 10 percent of your roof to skylights. That’s space that can’t be used for things like rooftop equipment and supports. It also claims space that might be needed for workers to perform roof maintenance. And if you have a small roof, that is going to be a problem!

There’s no doubt that skylights contribute to a building’s aesthetic appeal, and they can also reduce the cost of electrical lighting. But they have drawbacks, too, and building managers have to consider both aspects to make an informed decision. When considering skylights as part of your building’s future, remember to think about the hidden costs, like increased roof maintenance, heating and cooling, and safety precautions.

Attach Almost Anything to Select Trapezoidal Roof Profiles

RibBracket from S-5! can be used to mount almost anything onto the most common exposed-fastened, trapezoidal roof profiles marketed in North America.

RibBracket from S-5! can be used to mount almost anything onto the most common exposed-fastened, trapezoidal roof profiles marketed in North America.


RibBracket from S-5! can be used to mount almost anything onto the most common exposed-fastened, trapezoidal roof profiles marketed in North America. The RibBracket comes with a factory-applied EPDM rubber gasket seal already on the base, and the S-5!-patented reservoir conceals the EPDM from UV exposure, preventing drying and cracks. The RibBracket is mounted directly onto the crown of the panel, straddling the profile. No surface preparation is necessary; simply wipe away excess oil and debris, align and apply. RibBracket is economical and facilitates quick and easy installation. The slotted top hole, which accommodates standard M8 nuts and bolts, simplifies alignment and maximizes flexibility in attaching ancillaries.